When it comes to American wine-producing regions, the first state that likely comes to mind is not Georgia but California. However, the soil and environmental conditions in Georgia — especially in northern Georgia — are also quite well-suited to wine production. This has resulted in the establishment of several top-tier North Georgia wineries over the years, and their popularity has grown along with their numbers (almost two dozen, now) for a good reason.
A major advantage of such developments is that, nowadays, you don’t need to go all the way to California Wine Country to visit wineries for wine tasting. You can just head over to Georgia Wine Country! With stunning views and a variety of vintages, North Georgia vineyards offer visitors the unique chance to kick back and relax with a sip or three at a North Georgia winery imbued with Southern charm. But, what does a trip to a North Georgia winery look like?
What To Expect from a Winery Tour
If you’ve never been on a winery tour, then you’re in for a treat. Practices, sample sizes, and offerings will vary, but if you visit enough North Georgia wineries, you’ll be able to get a truly full experience.
- Go on an organized tour – it can save you a lot of trouble. Lake Rabun Hotel can take you to the wineries and back to the hotel, so you can sip to your heart’s content without worrying about who will do the driving!
- You might need a reservation if you go to individual wineries on your own, but even that could depend on the number of people in your party.
- If you find a wine that you like while visiting a winery, you should definitely pick up a bottle right away. Doing so is encouraged both because you might forget which wine it was you really liked and you will also help the winery you’re visiting stay in business!
- If you’re on an organized tour, you often don’t have to worry about bringing lunch along; the tour company will generally pay for food you can enjoy.
- Expect to try anywhere from four to six wines at any given North Georgia winery; it depends on what they have on offer and how much you’re willing to pay.
- Prices for flights of wine samples at North Georgia vineyards can vary, often depending on the size of your party (the more, the merrier — and the cheaper!).
Beautiful North Georgia Wineries You Should Visit
Whether you’ve got a North Georgia wineries map in hand or are joining an organized North Georgia winery tour, it’s worth checking out the following top-rated, beautiful North Georgia wineries. This list can help you decide which to visit if you’re going on your own or which to request if your organized Georgia Wine Country tour offers such an option.
Terra Incognita Vineyard
Terra Incognita Vineyard is a 25-minute drive from Lake Rabun Hotel, and once you arrive and take in the beautiful mountain setting, you may want to make a repeat visit.
What Terra Incognita is known for: Their wines range from Chardonnays to Rosés, and more, though visitors have spoken particularly highly of their Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to being a working North Georgia winery, Terra Incognita is also a popular wedding venue, with a 1,800 sq. ft. pavilion and seating for up to 150.
Why Terra Incognita is worth visiting: There’s a little something for everyone at Terra Incognita Vineyard. Wine tastings and weddings are some of the more popular events, but they also offer a unique one-group camping experience, and there are also easy hiking trails to explore.
Important things to know about Terra Incognita Vineyards: They’re open for tastings from Friday to Sunday, and, on occasion, you can enjoy live music with your wine.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards
A 12-minute drive from Lake Rabun Hotel, all of the grapes at Tiger Mountain Vineyard are planted and harvested — and all of the wine handcrafted — in the mountains of Rabun County.
What Tiger Mountain Vineyards is known for: Tiger Mountain Vineyards is proud to produce their wine using old-world methods. The 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve is a recent award winner, as are the 2019 Malbec and 2019 Tannat.
Why Tiger Mountain Vineyards is worth visiting: The Red Barn Cafe offers Cajun and Creole food from Chef Leon Lemoine. Tiger Mountain’s tasting room has been noted for its beauty, its wine offerings, and a delicious $10 cheese plate.
Important things to know about Tiger Mountain Vineyards: There are events throughout the year to enjoy at this North Georgia winery, including live music on Saturdays. The price of admission to these events are a wine flight, a glass of wine, or one bottle per couple.
12 Spies Vineyards and Farm
Opened in 2012 and named after the Biblical story of Moses sending 12 spies to investigate the Promised Land, 12 Spies Vineyards is a 20-minute drive from Lake Rabun Hotel.
What 12 Spies Vineyards is known for: Sweet, semi-sweet, or dry, 12 Spies Vineyards has a number of wines on offer. Their Cabs are highly regarded by visitors.
Why 12 Spies Vineyards is worth visiting: A true North Georgia winery experience in a beautiful setting. Visit on a Saturday to enjoy a glass or a bottle on the back porch along with live music.
Important things to know about 12 Spies Vineyards: Their tasting room offers 14 wines to try, though operating days vary depending on the season.
Stonewall Creek Vineyards
The first grapes at this small North Georgia winery, about a 20-minute drive from Lake Rabun Hotel, were planted in 2005, with their first wines released in 2012.
What Stonewall Creek Vineyards is known for: Visitors to Stonewall Creek Vineyards note that the property is gorgeous and the wines are delicious. Stonewall Creek’s 2014 Petit Manseng and 2014 Cabernet Franc are award-winners, and their more recent vintages are bound to be as tasty.
Why Stonewall Creek Vineyards is worth visiting: Events are peppered throughout the year at Stonewall Creek Vineyards, with everything from vineyard harvest tours to actual harvests detailing the winemaking process from the very beginning.
Important things to know about Stonewall Creek Vineyards: Their Tasting Room is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays year-round, and also on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but they are open the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The Cottage Vineyard & Winery
Located at less than an hour’s drive from Lake Rabun, The Cottage Vineyard and Winery in Cleveland, GA — with 15 wines to choose from — has been voted one of the top 25 wineries in the U.S.
What The Cottage is known for: Beautiful vistas and in-demand tastings are the names of the game at this North Georgia winery, which has produced 500+ barrels of house wine since opening. Opt for the 2018 Syrah if you get a chance.
Why The Cottage is worth visiting: You’ll be wowed by both the wines and the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the tasting room.
Important things to know about The Cottage: Reservations are needed for parties of four or more and must be made at least three days prior to your desired tasting date. Seating is limited, so there is a maximum time limit of one hour for tastings.
Have Another Glass at Lake Rabun Hotel
What will you do at the end of each day of your tour of North Georgia wineries? Here’s an idea: You can enjoy even more wine from North Georgia vineyards at the charming Lake Rabun Hotel.
Located just off the shore of Lake Rabun, the Lake Rabun Hotel has been around since 1922 and has a number of lodging options for visitors to North Georgia wineries. In addition, the Lake Rabun Hotel’s award-winning restaurant features farm-to-table fare, meaning you can enjoy delicious meals, craft cocktails, and (of course) wine!
As you plan your tour of North Georgia wineries, you won’t find a better place to stay than the Lake Rabun Hotel. To book a reservation, visit their site or give Lake Rabun Hotel a call today!